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Speak Malayalam 360 Mini Review: Overpromises, Underdelivers

Speak Malayalam 360
Price: Free
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The Speak Malayalam 360 app promises “a natural language learning pattern that helps to speak and write the Malayalam language easily.” What it delivers is a list of words and phrases for you to memorize, with some poorly thought out tests. It’s a shame, because it is well designed and has lots of potential.

When you open the app, you’re presented with 12 different options, from “talk” to “practice” to “share.” Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that very few of these labels are accurate. Most of them give way to a short word or phrase list, and not all of them have audio recordings (not even Conjunct consonants I–IV or Vowel Diacritics).

What’s more, it’s not entirely clear why some of these words were chosen or grouped together. We were left wondering: Why are three variations of “Are you sleeping?” mixed with asking directions? And for that matter, why does “Numbers I” start from 11?

The Skill Test section is a good addition, but unfortunately it doesn’t test you on the different sections. You need to memorize everything in the app before trying this out.

The Write section is also a nice idea, but it’s underdeveloped. It allows you to draw Malayalam symbols, and then it will tell you what it thinks you’ve drawn, how to pronounce it, and a word that begins with it. Bear in mind that this is no indication that you’ve drawn it well: even if you just scribble on the screen, the app will interpret it as a symbol. And there is no way to see or trace symbols before you draw them.

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